Thursday, December 11, 2008
Fingerprints Can Reveal Drug Use, Medical History
The new technique attaches the iron oxide particles to antibodies and suspends them both in a liquid solution, which is then drizzled over a fingerprint. If the chemical that a specific antibody targets is present, the molecules latch onto it and glow.
Drugs aren't the only chemicals the new tests could detect. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other medical conditions produce specific chemicals also secreted in sweat and oil. By tweaking the antibodies on the particles, forensic scientists could test for a variety of medical conditions. This could help police track down a suspect by, say, watching the local kidney dialysis clinic if the suspect has kidney failure.